Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

A hearty and delicious traditional Greek recipe perfect for a cold winter’s day!  Youvarlakia or giouvarlakia is a famous Greek meatball soup, which is full of Mediterranean flavors, juicy meatballs and finished off with a delicious egg lemon sauce (avgolemono)..

Youvarlakia soup – A traditional Greek wintery recipe

This Greek meatball soup (youvarlakia or giouvarlakia soup) is a classic delicacy made basically with meatballs (youvarlakia) and rice. It’s sounds really simple, but it’s simplicity of preparation and presentation, which is part of the Greek cooking, takes nothing out of it’s exquisite taste!

The secret ingredient for this extra creamy Greek recipe for youvarlakia soup is the Avgolemono – an egg lemon sauce that is often added in Greek recipes and acts as a thickening agent, giving this soup a unique texture and flavour.

Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia-Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

How to make the perfect Avgolemono for your Youvarlakia Soup

This Greek meatball soup recipe for youvarlakia includes the traditional recipe for preparing an egg lemon sauce (avgolemono). Although the basic Greek recipe is relatively simple, my experience has shown me that it can be really tricky.

Egg lemon sauce for Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia-Youvarlakia)

If you have ever tried making youvarlakia soup or any other Greek recipe which includes Avgolemono before, you must know that lots of things can go wrong leading to a disaster.

The most common mistake is that the Avgolemono – egg lemon sauce curdles and gets lumpy. To prevent you from making the same mistakes I have put together this short and simple guide to the perfect egg-lemon sauce and help you succeed every single time.

Avgolemono for Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia: Youvarlakia)

Serve this delicious Greek meatball soup (youvarlakia), while still warm with some sprinkled parsley as garnish and some crusty Greek bread to dig in all that delicious sauce!

Love soups?

If you love a hearty soup as much as I do then these recipes below are perfect for a cold winter’s day!

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Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe

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  • Author: Eli K. Giannopoulos
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x
  • Category: Soups
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Greek


Want to make a traditional Greek Meatball Soup in Egg-lemon sauce (Youvarlakia Avgolemono)? This is a hearty and delicious dish, perfect for a cold winter’s day!



For the meatballs (youvarlakia)

  • 500g lean minced beef (18 ounces)
  • ¼ of a cup long-grain rice (not boiled)
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • ½ carrot, grated (optional)
  • 3 tbsps fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of coriander
  • freshly ground pepper

For the egg lemon sauce (Avgolemono)

  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 2 lemons


  1. To prepare this Greek meatball soup, start by making the meatballs (youvarlakia). Place all the meatball ingredients into a large bowl, knead the mixture squeezing the ingredients with your hand until smooth. Leave the mixture to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. This will prevent the youvarlakia to break up when boiled. Form the meatballs (youvarlakia) and set them aside.
  2. Pour into a large pan 2 ½ cups of water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and gently add the meatballs (youvarlakia) in the water, put the lid back on and cook for 20-25 minutes. (The water should be enough to cover the meatballs, so add some more warm water if needed)
  3. To prepare the egg lemon sauce for the Greek meatball soup, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add the lemon juice and whisk well. Add into the bowl a ladle of hot soup and whisk quickly. Add one more ladle and whisk again until combined.
  4. Stir in the egg lemon sauce into the youvarlakia soup and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until warm but not boiling.
  5. Serve this extra warming Greek meatball soup, while still hot with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
  6. Make sure that you do not cover any left overs until they have cooled; the sauce may curdle otherwise!!


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 337kcal
  • Sugar: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 734.1mg
  • Fat: 14.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.7g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Protein: 33.9g
  • Cholesterol: 214.5mg

Recipe image gallery:

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  1. Thanks so much this is much easier than the way my mother made hers. Please tell me this can be frozen as my husband doesn’t eat Greek food but I love it !

    • Eli G Giannopoulos

      Hi Dawn,

      I am not so sure about freezing them. Do to know how the sauce will end up being after it gets defrosted but I guess it’s worth a try!

    • Christyne Demos

      The sauce doesn’t freeze, but it’s easy to make. Freeze the meat balls and whip up the sauce when you want it again!

  2. Thanks for answering Eli maybe I will try with a small serving I will let you know if it works!

  3. Does the long grain rice need to be cooked?

    • Hi Erica

      No, you don’t have to pre-boil the rice as it will boil all nicely once the meatballs are cooked. Ive added a clarification to the ingredients list for you 🙂



  4. Ad more water and more rice to make augolemono soup with more eggs,to plenty for more people ;<)

  5. Thank you for this recipe! I thought the sauce would be tricky, but it was dead easy. Never tried this soup before, but had some leftover lamb mince and stumbled across this recipe. Thanks again, Mary

  6. Helena Christe

    Meat in the United States is sold in lbs. not oz. so please use lbs.

  7. Betty H.

    I was happy to see this recipe, as I have not made youvarlakia for years, and this was a good reminder! The results were delicious. I made very minor changes – added a minced garlic clove, omitted the optional carrot, and, for the avgolemono sauce, increased the eggs to 3 (they were quite small) and the lemon to 2-1/2. I could have used a bit more broth, but in the end it was fine. The only thing I would like to mention is that dishes with avgolemono should not be covered until they have cooled; the sauce may curdle otherwise (ask me how I know – a 45-year-old disaster!)

  8. Marina chandler

    I use chicken broth not just plain water.

  9. Fotini Mboka

    It must take a lot of patience and self control to respond to some of these rude obnoxious people. Good job Betty lol 🙂

  10. Fotini Mboka

    Oops I meant Eli* 🙂

  11. Suzanne Leighton

    I don’t undrstand the soup part. Is this stock? Am I missing something please?

  12. Jess Guscott

    My Athenian husband likes to make this with chopped potatoes and carrots in the broth. He also rolls the raw meatballs in flour before boiling to thicken the final sauce. It’s a good recipe, but worth trying karolina or arborio rice instead of long grain – Really tasty!! Love using your Lahanodolmades recipe, hubby’s absolute favourite, thank you ?

  13. So all the rice is mixed in the meat balls dont you add any rice in the water?

    • Betty Haniotakis

      I put the rice only in the meatballs, not in the broth. I sometimes add a chopped potato or carrot to the broth to give extra body and flavor.

  14. Elaine Tsigaras

    I also soak some bread in milk or water and add it to the meatball mixture, after I squeeze the moisture out. Makes the meatballs very tender…no carrot, minced garlic instead. Add mint, too, fresh or dried. I use a combo of water and chicken broth.

  15. A fav dish of mine in general but as a confessed hater of coriander i did a double take on coriander being the recipe… not a herb i have seen before in traditional greek cooking.

    • Great recipe and so easy to make. Would make with chicken stock for flavor. Since it’s so quick, water doesn’t have enough flavor. Added more liquid, lemon and egg. Thx!

  16. Totally agree with you LBac, coriander is not part of traditional Greek cuisine, I would use parsley instead?

  17. Charlotte Williamson

    I love this recipe and all of the recipes .People should understand they are recipes and stop niggling and complaining and respect the hard work that goes into this site . I think they are the best and most authentic Greek recipes around and I enjoy them and they remind me of the happy years I spent in Greece and all the lovely dishes I enjoyed there..

  18. Eugenia Christodoulou-West

    Avgolemano soup is my favorite—giovrilakia is best with karolina or Arborio rice (60 yrs of Greek cooking)through experience —prefer minced veal and add everything that I make my meatballs with and add the rice to the meat mixture after it has cooled in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Cook in chicken broth. Three eggs and depending on the size of the lemons 2-3.

  19. I just made the Avgolemono soup. This is the very best recipe I have ever used.
    (Don’t tell Yia Yia) ????. Absolutely awful week, we have an ice storm and the soup made everything better. Greek penicillin.

  20. Lidija Sferidis

    An absolute keeper of a recipe! Easy, delicious and a new household favorite. Many thanks!

  21. Making this tonight and very excited because the comments look promising!! And they were quite entertaining – Internet people are so funny. ‘I live in Australia and we measure using KG so your recipe should too!!’ 😂😂

  22. Rebecca Sarantos Fowler

    Can I make this the day before? I am thinking about making this for Christmas. Thank you, Rebecca

  23. Ghyl Marie

    I absolutely love this recipe Eli, so delicious. Even my husband who grew up in a greek household approved! I did use your tip when doing the avgolemono sauce by separating egg yolk from whites and whisking seperately, it made the sauce much airier and fluffy.
    P.s the comment from the American who couldn’t convert pounds in ounces is unbelievable! The universe doesn’t revolve around the good ‘ole U. S of A!! Love from Australia who uses the metric system 🤣

  24. Dawn E Miller

    As for the rude comment about meat being sold in the US in lbs , any idiot should be able to figure out that 18 oz is about a1 1/4 lbs.

  25. Bro what its Turkish. Youvarlak litteraly means “round” in Turkish

  26. Had this in a tiny cafe in Mandraki last week and knew I had to make it myself, it was so delicious. Thank you for the perfect recipe.

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